A few weeks ago, blogger buddy Bettina of The Lunch Tray and I decided to celebrate Food Day by asking our readers to participate in something we’re calling “Second Helpings.” The premise was simple: Just do a food-related good deed for someone, then let us know about it so we could share the collective love.
Now that Thanksgiving is just a few days away, it’s time for me to share the good works that Red, Round, or Green readers have registered with the Second Helpings project, as well as tell you all what I did during this time. Before I do, though, let me just stop for a second and say — truly, honestly, with all of my being — THANK YOU. I’m so much more grateful at this moment than I was even a few days ago; your simple acts of generosity towards others have reminded me how rich and full the world really is, and for that I am truly thankful this Thanksgiving season.
Now, the round-up:
Reader Kathy and her family coordinated the Scouting for Food program in their community. She shared with me that “This one day event provides more than 25% of the annual food supply to banks in our county.”
Amy did something I love to do — she waited until her local co-op was hosting a charity day, then did a big grocery shopping run. Ten percent of all sales at the store she shopped at were going to programs that fight hunger.
Katie gave generously to her local food bank — twice — and did it in a way that I ADORE: She thought about truly healthy, shelf-stable items that could be combined to make real meals. (Give with dignity, people!) She’s also signed up to serve meals at a shelter for women and children in December.
Carrie shared with me, quite movingly, that after years of being the giver, she and her family will be benefiting from the generosity of others this Thanksgiving. Her military family will receive the makings for their holiday meal from a base program, which makes ME thankful in all sorts of ways: I’m thankful for Carrie’s family’s service and sacrifices; I’m thankful that there is a program to give back in some small measure to them and families like them; and I’m thankful for the opportunity to remind myself that we all have moments when we give, and moments when we have to let go and receive with grateful hearts.
Donna donated many pounds of food to the Scouting for Food Drive, and shared this cute anecdote about the little scout who came to pick up the donation: “(He) struggled to carry my 2 overfilled bags of cans to his mom’s car. I asked if he needed help, and so did his mom–but he was very sure that he wanted to do it himself. As he was putting the bags in the car trunk, he said ‘See mom? I’m strong enough to feed the hungry people.’” (Can I get a collective AWWWWWW, people?)
Wendy participates in a program where she keeps notes in her car for the times when she’s going through a drive-thru of any kind — if she’s got a few dollars to spare that day, she hands a note to the cashier that says she’d like to pay for the car behind her as well. I love this kind of small, simple, and personal giving, because I think it’s the kind of thing that brightens everyone’s days.
A reader who logged in under her blog name, Livin’ the Crunchy Life, shared a wonderful holiday idea: Each year, she said, she and her sisters forego gifts to one another, then pool the money they would have spent and decide on a charitable cause to which they can donate.
“The Greasy Camera“ told us about bringing daily meals and treats to a neighbor who’s preparing to enter hospice, and how these small acts of kindness help her to feel less hopeless in the face of her friend’s tragedy.
My own best friends have been participating, I see from their Facebook updates, in an effort through their town to bring together food and supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims.
Reader Christine had intended to volunteer at the food bank with her teenaged daughter, until Hurricane Sandy devastated their area and left them without power for well over a week. Her good karma was rewarded, though, by the kindness of a friend who took some of Christine’s perishables and stashed them in her own freezer.
RRG friend Eila of The Full Plate Blog participated in her church’s effort to provide Thanksgiving meal baskets to needy families in their area.
Another great friend of RRG, blogger Susan of Little Ladies Who Lunch, didn’t register with me — but I’m throwing her a shout-out here anyway. Susan lives in Brooklyn and has taken a hiatus from blogging to throw herself into relief efforts in NYC. Talk about second helpings…and thirds…and fourths!
As for me…I’ve done a few small things, like helping L. with his Sunday School project to collect funds to buy turkeys for needy families, and donating to his school’s “dress down day” for Hurricane Sandy relief. But my biggest effort this month has been to solidify the plans for a wintertime farmer’s market in my neighborhood. I’ve been trying to pull together all the resources to make it happen for a while now, and we’re in the home stretch — only a week and a half to go until our first day! Now some of our local farming families will hopefully have a little financial boost throughout the winter months, and the rest of us will benefit by having access to some local foods grown by our friends and neighbors. The next step is to complete the process of making the market fully SNAP-enabled, as we’re holding it in a location where food pantry clients and many families using SNAP benefits will be able to travel. My dream is to gather enough funds to offer them “Bonus Bucks” — additional credits so they can buy MORE local food with their SNAP benefits, making the healthiest options also the most cost-effective.
Whew. This is SOME list, people. You’ve really come through with some beautiful acts of generosity here. I am so thankful to each and every one of you for giving of yourselves in both large and small ways, and sharing those acts with me so that I could celebrate them here. We all have so much to be thankful for, and all the more so when we share what we have with others. Happiest of Thanksgivings to all of you, with my love and gratitude.